As we transition from summer to fall, it’s time to adjust our lawn and garden maintenance practices. Here are some tips.
• Continue watering as needed. This is easy to forget as temperatures drop. Drought causes stress to key landscape plants, making them more susceptible to life threatening insects and disease.
• Leave healthy perennials standing for winter. Many provide homes for pollinators and other beneficial insects and some seeds provide food for songbirds. You’ll enjoy the added texture and motion in your winter garden and the songbirds that stop by to dine.
• Do remove diseased plant debris and those infested with plant-damaging insects. This will reduce the source of future infestations.
• Remove any small- to medium-sized dead or diseased branches from shrubs and small trees. A tool like Corona’s 7-inch RazorTooth folding saw has a blade that tucks into the handle for safe transport. Disinfect the blade with rubbing alcohol or a disinfectant spray between cuts when pruning diseased plants.
• Use raked leaves as mulch on the garden soil surface to help suppress weeds, conserve moisture and improve the soil as they decompose. Leaves also provide insulation and protection for a variety of beneficial insects and toads.
• Continue weeding the garden. Eliminating weeds before they set seed means fewer weeds to pull next year.
• Mow the lawn as long as it continues to grow. Leave clippings on the lawn to add nutrients, moisture, and organic matter to the soil.
• Don’t rake fall leaves off the lawn. Just mow over them. As long as the leaf pieces are the size of a quarter or smaller, they’ll break down, adding organic matter to the soil.
After your last cut, clean and winterize your mower. Remove and sharpen the blades so you’re ready for next season. Sharp blades make a cleaner cut for a better-looking lawn that requires less water and a mower that uses less fuel. ❚
Melinda Myers has written numerous gardening books and hosts the nationally-syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio programs.